My dad got his qualifications in typesetting and printing in Carlisle, and the offer of a job as a compositor meant a family move to Lancashire when I was no more than knee high to a typecase.
He set work in metal for a while, and followed the prevailing technologies right up until the Apple Macintosh. In the 1970s, a new generation of ‘easy-to-use’ punch tape photosetting machines gave him the opportunity to set up his own company, News Phototypesetting Services.
The premises were in Skelmersdale, a slightly less attractive equivalent of Milton Keynes, famous for an almost total lack of footpaths. Before the Alphatype machine was wheeled in, Dad did the job of designing a logo for the firm – I think he’d always aspired to spend more time creating (as a graphic artist) than executing (as a typesetter).
Of course, as a son, pride and sentimentality will always get the better of me and I’d brook no criticism on the merits of his efforts, but still, I remain impressed by the economy of this modest piece of design. In 30 years the associations and memories it conjures up – of a lifetime of hard work and honest industry – have found no equal.